Government policies have directly led to health crisis – Doherty
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty has condemned the failure of the government to deal with the crisis in the health service, as horrific news stories continually emerge outlining the terrible human cost of government underinvestment in health.
Deputy Doherty also highlighted the fact that the new spend in health for 2016 is just €18 million, compared to the €181 million being spent on tax cuts for the top 14% of earners.
Addressing Minister Brendan Howlin during Leaders’ Questions today, Deputy Doherty said:
“Minister, we woke up across the state this morning to the horrific newspaper reports, the terrible news about our health services, the elderly woman placed on an all-male ward due to overcrowding in South Tipperary General Hospital who was allegedly subject to a horrific sexual assault.
“Another report is that of Dualtagh Donnelly, the father of two who bled to death while waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, despite the fact that the family home where he lived was only five minutes from the Dundalk ambulance station, and him living close to Louth County Hospital, a Hospital in which the A&E department has been closed.
“And all of these stories come on the back of other, equally dreadful stories.
“You say Minister that your government will address these problems. You are five years into your term of office. You’re in the last dying months of your term in office. Is it not reasonable for you to understand and accept that your failure to invest, after stripping valuable resources out of our health services, results in what we’re now seeing in our national newspapers?
“Dualtagh Donnelly may have been able to have been here today on this earth if an ambulance was there at an appropriate time. This isn’t just an isolated incident. Should it be acceptable in this day in age in our society that we should allow anybody, regardless of age on a hospital trolley? Over four hundred individuals were on trolleys yesterday.
“You have provided €18 million euro in additional funding for health in 2016 when you strip out demographic pressures and the Landsdowne Road Agreement. That is what the budget document says in 2016. Yet you still provide multiples of that – nearly ten times that amount - in tax reliefs to those who earn over €70,000.
“You may not want to hear that Minister, but when you deploy policies like that, this is what you’ll get. You’ll get our elderly people on hospital trolleys. You will have people dying in their homes because of the emergency services will not get to them in an appropriate time. Do you accept Minister that you have failed spectacularly to deal with the crisis in our hospitals and emergency services across the state?”